October 24, 2012

In this week's Recruiting Roundup, Rivals.com's Mike Farrell explores the rise of Da'Shawn Hand, the decision of Alex Anzalone, and the rocky recruitment of Thomas Tyner.

Deep Thoughts

• Around last April, I tweeted that Woodbridge (Va.) Woodbridge Senior defensive end Da'Shawn Hand was my choice for top player in the country for the class of 2014. After seeing Hand at a few camps, it was clear how special he was compared to other top prospects in Rivals.com history.

However, if you go to see a Woodbridge Senior High School football game, you won't see a monster rush end working off the edge and stringing running plays to the outside. What you'll see is a 6-foot-4, 260-pounder playing out of position at defensive tackle where it's his job to hold up three blockers to free his teammates.

Hand might be frustrated with such a role, but it's not evident when talking to him. Hand is also playing left tackle on offense and looks as good as most offensive tackles in the country for 2014. Despite all the attention (center and both guards on almost every play), Hand still had three tackles for a loss, a sack, a forced fumble and batted down a pass in a tough loss to Woodbridge (Va.) C.D. Hylton.

Hand is still No. 1 in the country in my eyes even if he won't be able to work on his pass-rushing skills right now. Playing as a defensive tackle has made him a more physical prospect and tougher against the run.

• Pennsylvania linebacker Alex Anzalone is going to become a Florida Gator even if he is currently committed to Notre Dame.

Anzalone had previously committed to Ohio State but de-committed from the Buckeyes after an unofficial visit to Florida. He eventually committed to Notre Dame, but took a visit to Gainesville for Friday Night Lights and then visited for the LSU game.

Rumor had it that there were two silent defensive commitments to come out of that game, that Anzalone had already filled out enrollment paperwork for Florida; when he cancelled his official visit to Notre Dame for the BYU game this past weekend, the signs appeared clear. Now, it depends if Anzalone says it out loud.

It's all a bit crazy, but the Gators were the early favorite for him. His father attended Florida and I think Muschamp and his staff was always going to be in this until the end. The good news is that this will likely be the last commitment for Anzalone.

• Speaking of crazy, Oregon running back Thomas Tyner de-committed from the Oregon Ducks for less than 48 hours last week. Chip Kelly has a long-standing policy that committed players cannot take official visits to other schools and has even turned away players committed to other programs that want to visit Eugene. With schools in his ear, especially UCLA, and with Oregon still recruiting running back Derrick Green, Tyner decided he wanted to take a look around at some other schools.

Kelly likely told him he's no longer a commitment if he does, so Tyner decommitted, albeit briefly.

Tyner loves Oregon and he belongs with the Ducks' high-speed offense. UCLA, Oregon State and others won't stop recruiting him, but this one should be over.

• Speaking of Green, his recruitment is especially intriguing. Green has listed the Ducks as one of his finalists and liked his trip, but Oregon has always been a long shot, even for an official visit.

It's unclear if Oregon will back off as part of getting Tyner back in the fold or not, but it shouldn't matter -- Green isn't going there. Green appears to be the perfect fit as a Big Ten running back. His other two favorites, Auburn and Tennessee, have coaches on very hot seats. Michigan has to be the final destination, right? It makes sense, but sometimes recruiting makes no sense.

• Texas A&M lost to LSU, but the Aggies are a fun team to watch and not only because of Johnny Manziel. The team has a lot of talent, and with the SEC swagger they now possess, the Aggies will be a recruiting force not only in Texas but in SEC states as well. Ricky Seals-Jones, Mike Mitchell and Justin Manning were all on hand for the game against LSU, and they all could end up in College Station.

LaQuon Treadwell's has been playing like a five-star this season, but he isn't taking any official visits. Treadwell has now set up visits with Missouri, Ole Miss, Michigan and Oklahoma this month alone and won't make any of them.

The passing of his uncle this past weekend kept him from a big visit weekend in Ann Arbor, but I still think the Wolverines are his future home until he actually takes one of the two trips he wants to take to OU and Oklahoma State.

Quick Hitters

• It looks like Hawaii linebacker Isaac Savaiinaea won't end up at Notre Dame, even if Anzalone departs. Savaiinaea is committed to Stanford, but the Irish, Texas A&M and UCLA are all getting looks and Savaiinaea was personally recruited by Manti Te'o, who also attended Punahou High School.

If Savaiinaea decided to follow Te'o from Punahou to South Bend, the comparisons would be inevitable and the talent level of the two is vastly different. There is no way he could live up to the legend of Te'o.

• Oregon State is undefeated, in the top 10 in the BCS standings and the Beavers will get a bit of a recruiting push as a result. One such example is the visit this past weekend by quarterback Luke Del Rio, who is already committed to Oklahoma State.

There is no way Del Rio looks at the Beavers without Mike Riley as the coach. In mid-June, I was very critical as the Beavers were the only BCS school without a commitment, but now that might play to the coach's advantage.

• I think Peter Kalambayi sticks with Stanford in the end, despite his recent interest in Oregon. Most Stanford commits make plans to look around in case they don't clear admissions, one of the big disadvantages the Cardinal have in recruiting. Most hear around late November or early December at the latest if they are in, and I think that's when you'll start to see Stanford make a recruiting push.

• I think Laremy Tunsil ends up at Alabama. My first hunch when his recruitment started to pick up was Florida, and I still think the Gators can surprise people here, but it has to be hard to say no to Alabama these days.

His official visit on Nov. 10 will be with two fellow Florida prospects, Derrick Henry and DeMarcus Walker, both of who are already committed to the Tide.

• Gators fans were excited that the nation's No. 5 prospect, tight endO.J. Howard, was in Gainesville for the win over South Carolina. However, these fans shouldn't get their hopes up too high. Howard seems very solid to Alabama by all accounts and strikes me as the kind of kid that will stick to his word in the end.

• Alabama is going to make a strong run at Pennsylvania wide receiver Robert Foster as he takes his official visit this weekend and will obviously be impressed with the atmosphere, especially compared to the smaller crowds at Pitt. However, even before the visit, I just don't see him taking the chance to leave home.

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